Sunday 26 January 2020

GAA president blames social media for creating Páirc Uí Chaoimh 'frenzy' after GAA gives green light to Liam Miller friendly

GAA president John Horan has defended the association's handling of the controversy
GAA president John Horan has defended the association's handling of the controversy Newsdesk Newsdesk

GAA president John Horan has defended their handling of the situation surrounding the hosting of a charity event for the family of the late Liam Miller at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

This morning at Croke Park, the GAA's Central Council backed the decision of the Management Committee to allow the game to take place at the home of Cork GAA on Tuesday, September 25.

In a statement last week, the GAA had insisted that it was prohibited from hosting games other than those under its control in its stadiums but have performed a u-turn after meeting with the organising committee for the event and agreeing that there will be a GAA element to the evening.

The game between a Manchester United/Celtic XI and an Irish XI had been scheduled for Turner's Cross with the 7,300 tickets available snapped up within minutes last week but it could in front of 45,000 after this morning's decision.

The game will raise monies for his widow, Clare, and children, Kory, Leo and Belle. Some of the proceeds will also go to Marymount Hospice in Cork and there will be other beneficiaries but the GAA will have no input on how the funds are dispersed.

Speaking on RTE Radio One today, Mr Horan defended the time it has taken for the GAA to reach a decision and blamed social media and other elements for turning the story into a 'frenzy'.

"After a long and robust debate this morning at Central Council, Central Council has decided to grant permission to the Cork county committee to host the match in Páirc Uí Chaoimh," he said.

"There were some people who expressed concern over this decision and that was taken on board by the room and everybody got a fair and open chance to express those views but in the end the conclusive decision was that we would open Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

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"There will be a GAA element to the actual event but that is for discussion between the organising committee and Cork county committee.

"There will be other beneficiaries but this will have nothing to do with the GAA. This event is being organised by a very genuine committee who are looking at some needs within the Cork community. They did make a generous offer to us that they would give a donation towards a GAA charity but we have actually declined that offer and we will look after the charity that was in mind ourselves in Croke Park."

On the time it took to grant permission to use Páirc Uí Chaoimh, he said: "I wouldn't say it was very long. When you think about it, there was an initial enquiry from the organising committee and they were given a negative response at the time but we're all aware from the launch of Wednesday last week that this took on a life of its own.

"We sat down with the organising committee last Tuesday with a view to resolving the issue and I think if you look at it, from Tuesday this week to Saturday morning that we got our Management Committee, that were due to meet last night, and we gathered the volunteers that make up our Central Council committee this morning in Croke Park this morning to make the decision. I don't think anyone can say Tuesday to Saturday was a long time. i think we dealt with our business in a very appropriate manner and with haste but not too much haste.

"I think we're in a different era. I think social media and all these other elements that fed into it really turned the whole thing into a frenzy. That's the life we live in at the moment."

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